Friday, February 2, 2024

Book Review: One Big Happy Family By Jamie Day


The Precipice is a legendary, family-owned hotel on the rocky coast of Maine. With the recent passing of their father, the Bishop sisters--Iris, Vicki, and Faith--have come for the weekend to claim it. But with a hurricane looming and each of the Bishop sisters harboring dangerous secrets, there's murder in the air-- and not everyone who checks into the Precipice will be checking out.  

Each sister wants what is rightfully hers, and in the mix is the Precipe's nineteen-year-old chambermaid Charley Kelley: smart, resilient, older than her years, and in desperate straits.

The arrival of the Bishop sisters could spell disaster for Charley. Will they close the hotel? Fire her? Discover her habit of pilfering from guests? Or even worse, learn that she's using a guest room to hide a woman on the run. 


Charley is a maid at a historic Maine hotel named Precipe, one that has been in the same family for years. She lives on the grounds in a small almost closet like room to save money and pay for her grandmothers nursing care. When the owner, George dies, his three daughters and their families defend upon the hotel for the reading of the will, during a hurricane no less.  Charley is worried about her job, will they fire her if they find out her secret, worse yet will they find the local girl that Charley has hiding in the hotel rent free, and also will she be able to pay for her grandmothers care if she loses her job, should the sisters decide to shut down the hotel.

This book started out very strong for me. I enjoy a good lock room mystery/suspence, especially if you throw in some morally gray characters, and this book had plenty of those. The setting was great, an old hotel on the rocky shores of Maine. It was moody, mysterious, and with the hurricane baring down on them, it felt dangerous.

However, I really liked none of the characters in the story. The sisters especially, were just vile and unlikable, even main character Charley had several things I found I really unliked about her, especially her obsession with peoples looks that seems to occupy most pages in the book. Bree, the girl that Charley was hiding in the hotel , to quote Taylor Swift “ I knew you were trouble when you walked in“

The book was divided into four parts, and the parts each had short chapters, which is always a plus in my book, mostly because I have a hard time closing a book in the middle of a chapter. I will say, I thought the book went on longer than it needed and I got bored with it near the half way mark. There were a lot of family in the book, with a lot of backstories, much I felt was not always necessary to the story.

There was a few good twists in the book, but I felt the ending was predictable  and ended rather quickly.

One Big Happy Family had all the trappings  of a great mystery, but to me it missed the mark, however if you are a fan of a lock room mysteries, don’t overlook this one, it might just be the summer read you are wanting.

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